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Comment Re:Sounds good... (Score 1) 104

I know perfectly well where Port Hueneme is. I lived much of my life on The Southern California coast.

You get 320 days of sunshine? Sure you do. And you're selling that bridge over there for only 5 bucks.

FWIW, Barstow in the Mojave Desert -- far from your marine layer -- gets a lot of sunshine. That's why it is surrounded with solar projects. It claims 260 clear days a year. (I'd have guessed more. Maybe they only count completely cloudless days.)

There's a table at https://books.google.com/books...
that shows clear days for a number of California cities. None of them comes close to 320 days a year. I'd expect the Naval Base to come in around the same as San Diego -- i.e. 180 days a year.

Comment Re:Sounds good... (Score 2) 104

> That is, if you're near a large supply of readily accessible water. Even with scavanging the water vapor off the fuel cells, there will be losses. And it's likely to use a lot of water to start up. Here in the desert, water is a BIG issue.

I should think that saline, alkaline, brackish or waste water might work OK. They are, after all, using sea water in this installation (assuming that it works). And it's not clear that they need a lot of water.

One thing though about using it on military missions. There could be an itsy problem:

To: Attila the Hun
Dear General Hun
The weather here has been extremely cloudy this week and the wind has been noticably absent. We were wondering if you could put off the attack you seem to be preparing for a week or two until the weather has improved and we are able to recharge our Hydrogen supplies.
Lt Col I.M.(sitting) Duck

Comment Re:GPS is just an aid (Score 1) 538

Note that you're assuming that you are from a country where numbered roads are a thing. In Germany, for example, it's extremely uncommon to use this kind of scheme and even in places where it is used it's often used differently - for example, in Mannheim they enumerate blocks instead of roads and due to the need for the scale to be able to expand in three directions they set it up so that A1 and L1 are adjacent. However, in Europe roads are commonly not straight, which can help with navigation (if you have a map, that is).

Likewise, the nearest mountain could well be a few hundes miles away. Of course any set of landmarks will do but coming from a completely flat area I'm familiar with towns where no landmarks are visible from most places in town.

In such situations I just take out my smartphone and do a map search for whatever is on the road signs. Even just knowing how the current road is laid out can help you get your bearings and if that's not enough you can match the names of crossing roads with what you see on the map to get your exact location. Yes, that's using Google Maps as a road map with a search function. It works fairly well for that and doesn't bulk up your pockets when you're on foot.

Comment Re:Why not overseas .... (Score 1) 151

Depends on what you mean by "typical salaries in ... China". In some parts of China, minimum wage is only $1.23 per hour, which translates to $49.20 per week, or $2558.40 per year. There is nowhere in the U.S where you can live on $49.20 per week without being homeless. Even if you own your own house, if isn't possible. After all, it would take most of that $49 per week to pay for food alone. Add in insurance for your home (required by law, generally), and you're way, way over. And you'd still be doing without modern conveniences like water and electricity, which would result in the social services folks evicting you from your house pretty quickly.

Comment Re:Hammerheads in Vermont (Score 1) 570

The Bay area is one of the most expensive places in the world though. There are plenty of areas in this country where $15/hour suddenly gives you close to a median income.

Ah, but the reason that the Bay Area is so expensive is that there's such a shortage of land to build housing. In places where the median income is much lower, yes you'll increase demand for housing, but the market will absorb it easily, because there's no shortage of land.

For example, Nashville has a median per-capita income of about $29k. That's just slightly under $15/hour, in theory, ignoring the impact of children on the per-capita numbers. Housing in Nashville is relatively cheap (compared to the Bay Area) at $1053/month.

What would happen if Nashville raised its minimum wage to $15/hr.? Well, a lot of people would have more money to spend. Some percentage of them would spend some percentage of that money on better housing.

Now most people in Nashville aren't having to do apartment sharing eight ways just to make ends meet. The exceptions are mostly college students and new renters, who are just a tiny percentage of the market (unlike in the Bay Area with its staggering rents). So the number of new housing units required would be a fairly small percentage of the market.

The bigger impact would be from people moving up to higher grades of housing or larger apartments with more rooms. In theory, this would drive the price of higher-end housing up. But what happens to all the low-rent housing? Suddenly, you have landlords who can't rent their rooms. So they will spend money to bring their apartments up to higher standards so that they can charge higher fees and bring in people who have more money. They break even, the price of the absolute cheapest housing goes up, and the quality of the housing goes up to match. More importantly, the number of housing units at that higher class goes up, balancing out the increase in demand, so the price for that class of housing actually remains about the same.

So it would have an impact, just not a very big one, and mostly at or near the very bottom of the housing market cost-wise.

Yeah but I don't think you can assume that if you're artificially raising salaries. With respect to education, this raise will affect many people who are already done with education, as well as people who simply aren't capable of finishing high school or going to college.

Yes, which means that there could be some short-term impact, but over the longer term, the trend should reverse, at least in theory.

But even if we assume artificially raising salaries will lead to the same results, it becomes question of whether more people will be bumped from the very poorest into a lower birthrate bucket, or from the $20k range into the $30k range which would result in an increase.

That's a very good question, and I suspect that the answer is "Nobody knows for sure." :-)

Comment Re:Hammerheads in Vermont (Score 1) 570

If some segment of the population suddenly has twice as much income, and maybe 5x as much disposable income, that's going to put upward price pressure on lots of goods and services.

Not when you're talking about the bottom tier of wage earners. Their salary would have to increase by way more than a factor of 2 before they would even start to compete for non-low-end housing. Here are some examples of Bay Area jobs and what they pay:

  • CA Minimum wage: $10/hr
  • Legal secretary: $21.03/hr
  • Assistant Manager: $22.46/hr
  • Kindergarten teacher: $30.74/hr
  • Entry-level software engineer: $38.46/hr
  • General Manager: $38.89/hr
  • Santa Clara County median salary: $44.95/hr
  • Median software engineer salary: $52.10/hr

For instance, the people who are living with 3 roommates each making minimum wage now decide to get a bigger place, or just have 1 other roommate (maybe a GF/BF). Suddenly demand for housing goes up. The people who used to compete for low rent places in crappy neighborhoods are now competing for medium rent places in decent neighborhoods. Now the manager, who lives in a decent neighborhood, faces a rent increase and wants a higher salary. Did your 4.3% include that?

IMO, the 4.3% number cannot possibly be based in reality. About a quarter of the cost of even a fast food joint's income goes towards labor costs (and even more for other restaurants). If labor costs doubled, you'd expect a minimum of a 25% increase in the cost of the burgers, and that's before you factor in the cost of the labor throughout the rest of the supply chain (raising the cattle, etc.). Now I realize that not all of your labor costs will double, so that's an overestimate, but 4.3% is an absolutely laughable underestimate. I'd guess that 15% is probably closer to the mark, but it could be slightly higher.

I think people who think the minimum wage doesn't have a big impact are missing this key idea. It's all relative, and it's not just about direct costs. It's about, if I make 4x minimum wage right now, and suddenly I'm only making 2x minimum wage, that hurts me in many small ways that add up. Maybe these poor people start having more kids, and my kids' school gets crowded, and there's a bond referendum to build a bunch of new schools and hire teachers, and my property taxes go up. Maybe poor people stop taking the bus or walking to work and buy cars, and now there's more traffic, and the city/county/state need to add lanes to a bunch of roads, and there's a tax increase to pay for it. Now I'm being affected even if I don't eat fast food.

Statistically speaking, people who make more money tend to get better education, and this results in having fewer kids, not more. So at least over the long haul, that first "maybe" is pretty unlikely. The second issue (traffic) is a concern, but:

  • Jobs in poor neighborhoods will pay more, and there will be more of them, because the poor will have more money to spend.
  • Minimum wage workers who choose to keep working in the nicer neighborhoods will be able to afford to live closer to where they work.

So those folks will be traveling shorter distances to work, which should largely balance out the higher number of cars.

Comment Re:The bill is 2 or 3 sentences, you can READ it (Score 1) 137

Your concern is duly noted, citizen. But fear not. By the time it gets out of committee and actually makes it to the floor of either house, it will have at least 1,000 pages of amendments tacked onto it. Thank you for bringing this to our attention.

Your Congresscritter

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Regardless of whether a mission expands or contracts, administrative overhead continues to grow at a steady rate.